The nation does not realize it yet, but Sunday's game between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks will introduce them to one of the most dominant squads in the NFL. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Carolina Panthers Defense.
Flashes were showing in preseason that created a small buzz. Luke Kuechly going full Lawrence Taylor against the Ravens grabbed a few headlines, but it was quickly forgotten.
The national media is sticking to their fabricated story line. The Seahawks are the anointed ones, and the Panthers are in the basement.
Get ready for a sudden twist in the NFL script.
The defense the Seahawks will face this Sunday at Bank of America Stadium isn't slightly improved, it is vastly improved. The defense that allowed the Seahawks to score just one touchdown last year is back, and they brought a few upgrades with them.
The headlines may lead you to believe the Panthers should gameplan Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Wilson, while a promising young QB, is a game manager. He does not have the ability to take over a game like Cam Newton.
First priority for the Panthers defense will be stopping Marshawn Lynch. Lynch was more of a factor in the Panthers loss last season than Wilson. His 85 yards rushing kept the Panthers offense off the field and out of rhythm. If Lynch is stopped, the Panthers win. Plain and simple.
The importance of the additions of defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short cannot be overstated. Last season the biggest weakness of the defense was the defensive interior. This season it is a strength. Luke Kuechly will now be able to roam the field and not be leashed to the middle in support of the tackles. Luke will take away the edges where Marshawn had the most luck last season.
Yesterday the Panthers signed Quintin Mikell, one of the best run stuffing safeties in the NFL. This was no coincidence. Mikell has experience against the Seahawks in addition to being an upgrade over Mike Mitchell. Stopping Marshawn Lynch just became more probable.
Also, lets not forget the return of pro bowl linebacker Jon Beason. Beason's experience and leadership alone provide an instant upgrade to the Panthers.
If you are a fan of hard nosed defensive football, there has been no more exciting time to be a Panthers fan than today. The Panthers have one of the most dominating squads in Panthers history.
The rest of the nation will realize this on Monday morning.